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Skills Training

Learning new skills is a big part of the therapy process. Skill building is often included as part of individual, couples, or family therapy. Sometimes, when a specific set of skills are needed, skill-building sessions can be a helpful adjunct to your treatment.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship”
– Louisa May Alcott

Throughout our lives, we develop skills to cope with our environment. We are wired for survival. Sometimes the skills that were essential to get us through tough parts of our lives end up holding us back when we are no longer threatened or in danger. Many times, we lack the essential skills needed to cope with our emotional experience, respond to the emotions expressed by others, and build satisfying relationships.

“When we are caught up in a destructive emotion, we lose one of our greatest assets: our independence.”
– Dalai Llama

Lacking the skill to manage stressful situations or understand interpersonal relations can make you feel like there is something wrong with you. Oftentimes, there is nothing wrong with you. You simply did not learn how to effectively manage the situations you are now facing. There are many reasons this happens. If you grew up in an invalidating, neglectful, or demanding household, your parents were ineffective in teaching you how to communicate and regulate. If you experienced trauma or faced a danger that you were not equipped to handle, you may have created your own relational skill set based on survival. If you experienced rejection, bullying, ridicule, or teasing, your ability to voice your needs and stand up for yourself may have been hindered. There are countless reasons why skill deficits exist, but the good news is these deficits can be repaired.

You can learn the skills needed to manage your emotions, build healthy relationships, and respond to crises in a helpful, rational, and effective way.

I offer skill-building as a part of therapy, or as an adjunct to therapy, you are already receiving.

Skill-building sessions are offered in the following areas:

Anger Management

For adults
For teens

Social Skills

Effective Communication
Boundary Setting
Conflict Resolution
Perspective Taking

DBT skills training

Emotion Regulation
Distress Tolerance
Interpersonal Effectiveness

CBT skills review

Challenging, appraising, and reframing thoughts
Reducing negative emotions
Increasing prosocial behaviors
Refresher for skills learned in individual sessions

How is skill building different than individual therapy?

Skills Training Sessions are short term, goal oriented, and focused. Sessions are mostly educational with some time spent discussing how to apply the skill learned to your own situation. Sessions are not process oriented or open ended. Each skills based program has a treatment plan that can be modified to your unique situation. The primary goal of all programs is for you to learn concrete skills that can be applied in your day to day life.

What is the format of skills training sessions?

Skills Training Sessions can be provided in individual, small group (2-3 participants), or group (3-8 participants) sessions. Sessions begin with a review of skills covered in earlier sessions, an overview of the skills to be discussed in the current session, practice and application of the skill discussed, and homework for you to practice incorporating the skill in your life outside of session.

What can I expect from Skills Training sessions?

To facilitate the educational component of these sessions, I often use worksheets or provide readings for you to follow along with during session. At the end of each session you will be given an assignment to practice the skill learned that day. The examples and application of what is discussed can be modified to fit your unique situation and personal goals, however, the structure and educational component of session will always be the focus. These sessions are not intended for processing of current stressors, discussion of other therapy topics, or rapport building. As a result, these sessions may feel different than what you are used to with your therapist. Sessions are intended to be short term, educational, and supplement the work you are doing in your therapy sessions. You are expected to complete assignments between sessions and bring the assignments to session with you. It feels a lot like school.

Can I participate in Skills Training and also be in individual therapy?

Yes! Skills Training is not intended to replace individual therapy. Skills based sessions are short term, goal oriented, psychoeducational sessions. The skills covered in these sessions will be helpful for you to maximize your time in individual therapy and achieve optimal results from the therapy process. Skills training is not a substitute for the therapeutic relationship and one on one connection you receive in individual therapy sessions. I work closely with your therapist to ensure the work we do in skills training is complimentary to and consistent with the work you are doing in therapy.